On "Warcraft Assassins"

General Discussion
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We’ve seen a lot of discussions about our recent hero releases in the community lately, and we agree that we definitely overdid it a little bit with the Warcraft assassins over the past few months. I wanted to step into this thread to say thank you for sharing your feedback on this with us, and to hopefully give you a little more context into how we wound up with what’s happened.

Something that’s important to consider is that our development process for each hero starts nine months to a full year ahead of their planned release dates. After a certain point in the pipeline it becomes very difficult to shuffle heroes around without slipping on our goal of putting a new hero into your hands every three to four weeks. By the time we took a step back and said “You know, we sure have released a lot of assassins lately…” we were well past the point where we could change things up. :-(

First up was Samuro, whom this team has been wanting to do for over 2 years, and we were finally in a place we could ship him. Awesome! Next up we had Varian. He was what we had labeled a “Gladiator” archetype, which would later be renamed to Multi-Class (as we felt it was more true to what it meant).

Next up was Ragnaros. Originally, we had pitched him as a Core-Replacement Hero, who would influence the battlefield from afar. Something we had penciled in as a Specialist. About 2 months into development, however, we moved away from that design to the Ragnaros you know today. We considered leaving him a Specialist, but thought his role as a Bruiser would be more accurately reflected as Assassin, a la Thrall.

A while after we were into Rag and Varian design, we realized that Zul’jin would make an excellent addition, as we hadn’t added a Sustained Ranged Attacker to the game in quite some time. However, we realized we now had 4 Warcraft Heroes in a row. We decided to stick with it, due to what kind of flexibility we had (or really, didn’t have) in maneuvering the schedule.

About 3 months after we had started work on the next set of Heroes to follow Zul’jin, we had to shuffle up Valeera to follow Zul’jin first, due the needs of the team as a whole. At the time, we didn’t pause to consider the ramifications of what it would mean as a player experience, in terms of getting a diverse roster of Heroes in regards to our Archetype definitions and our Universes.

At the time, we were looking at the Heroes, and from a very Game Designer view, we saw this:
  • Stealthed 3-Card-Monté assassin
  • Multi-Class Hero: Warrior, Bruiser, Dive Assassin
  • Bruiser with Heavy Map Implications
  • Sustained Ranged Attacker
  • Enemy Carry Disabler

Now, while to us that’s 5 very different experiences (and in fact a new role in the form of a Hero that focuses on Disabling a team’s primary damage), in the current Heroes Archetype listing, that’s 5 Heroes that can be called “Assassin”.

We realize that unleashing so many Warcraft assassins back to back wasn’t the best decision in terms of hero diversity, and isn’t quite as exciting for those of you who don’t necessarily enjoy assassins as much as the other roles.

However, once you’ve had the chance to try out Valeera, we’re confident you’ll find her playstyle is pretty different from our other assassins. Internally, we’ve had a blast striking from the shadows and figuring out all of the various ways to use her combo mechanics effectively, and we hope that you’ll find her just as fun to play as we do.

We know there are also some of you who have concerns about another stealth hero joining the Nexus so soon after Samuro’s release. Valeera has undergone many rounds of playtesting and iteration, and one of our primary focuses was on not only how much fun it is to play as her, but how it feels to play against her as well. We think we’ve reached a nice middle ground, and we’d love to hear your thoughts after you’ve played a few games with and against the rogue.

Now that Valeera is out in the wild, we think you’re going to be pretty happy with the rest of the heroes we have planned for 2017. The feedback you, the community, has provided us has greatly influenced our planning. You can definitely expect more diversity in terms of both role and universe compared to 2016. I would hope that in January of 2018, we’ll be able to look back and see a much wider offering of Heroes (including, yes, Supports!).

We can’t wait to show you what we have in store! Thank you so much for continuing to provide feedback! We’ll see you in the Nexus!
Highly Rated
It's really good to see that this was addressed and it's very interesting to see your perspective of the situation. Thank you very much and can't wait to try out the new stuff.
Highly Rated
Thanks for the post,

Stealthed 3-Card-Monté assassin
Multi-Class Hero: Warrior, Bruiser, Dive Assassin
Bruiser with Heavy Map Implications
Sustained Ranged Attacker
Enemy Carry Disabler

You nailed it with these descriptions, the playerbase just doesn't see it.

Keep up the good work.
I have never had any problems with the heroes you guys have been releasing I have found them all very unique and fun too play and for me that's all that matters and I am always looking forward too see whats next in store keep up the good work guys! :D
Highly Rated
Immensely appreciate the response to the community, regardless of whether I feel strongly one way or another.

That said, Varian and Rag are some of the most fun I've had on new releases in a bit. Really glad they made it, but that original Rag concept sounds like a real blast.
Highly Rated
Now that is communication. Thank you Blizzard. That is all it takes. Just talk to us, let us know your thought process and most of us will understand, I know I do. Thank you guys for the content you have given and continue to give. I look forward to a great 2017 and beyond with you guys. Keep up the great work!
I will hold you to a standard for you not to release any more Warcraft heroes for a while and cater to people who want diversity from the other universes, such as myself.

With your explanation of Ragnaros, I still hope to see the Overmind come out as a core replacement hero.

Thank you.
01/17/2017 10:50 AMPosted by Centaurik
Now that Valeera is out in the wild, we think you’re going to be pretty happy with the rest of the heroes we have planned for 2017. The feedback you, the community, has provided us has greatly influenced our planning. You can definitely expect more diversity in terms of both role and universe compared to 2016. I would hope that in January of 2018, we’ll be able to look back and see a much wider offering of Heroes (including, yes, Supports!).
When people complain about other posters "whining," remember, Blizzard WANTS feedback, positive or negative. Stop crapping on people for not being happy with the state of the game.
01/17/2017 10:50 AMPosted by Centaurik
You can definitely expect more diversity in terms of both role and universe compared to 2016. I would hope that in January of 2018, we’ll be able to look back and see a much wider offering of Heroes (including, yes, Supports!).
Oh goody! We just have to wait until 2018 to actually look back and say "Sweet! We finally got a few heroes from another universe!" How about putting some heroes in from Blackthrone? or R&RR which is sadly neglected? Guess we'll see though......
Nice, ty. Glad to hear from you folks!
Pls talk to us more often.^^
I'm really glad you guys are listening. It's one of the reasons why HotS is pretty much my favorite game these days.

Keep it up, guys! Can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for us!
Thanks, but I hope you are releasing Maiev this year anyway.
01/17/2017 11:43 AMPosted by Sharp
Can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for us!
You mean 2018 right lol......
Just wanted to add another thank you for the communication; the added insight into the hero releases is really appreciated. While I'm eager to try out some new supports/warriors I've enjoyed most of the recent additions, and Valeera looks like a lot of fun.
01/17/2017 11:44 AMPosted by RogueSpecter
01/17/2017 11:43 AMPosted by Sharp
Can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for us!
You mean 2018 right lol......


No, the post said that by Jan 2018, the 2017 year in review will show all the added new characters from different universes that weren't just assassins.

Try actually reading posts before you hate on a game lots of people enjoy. 2017 is going to be a good year because the dev team is making a conscious effort to improve.

Sorry you can't find joy in anything, buddy :)
Thanks for the post.

But in all seriousness, I hope we will turn the tables for at least a year. 2-3 Diablo/OW/SC-charas followed with one WC-hero in between these releases. It's simply too many Warcraft at this point.
Thank you so much Blizzard! You put great effort into HOTS and we appreciate it. It's even better when you listen to the concerns about diversity and explain why you did what you did. It really helps calm things down and clarify stuff.

It also gives a vibe you care about what your customers think, and that means a lot! Great loyalty can be obtained from such communication.

Really looking forward to the future hero diversity for 2017! I trust you can walk the talk for the rest of the year!
01/17/2017 10:50 AMPosted by Centaurik
Next up was Ragnaros. Originally, we had pitched him as a Core-Replacement Hero


Can...can you PLEASE expand on this? Does this mean core replacement heroes are a thing that are happening? Do I smell the Overmind and Old Gods approaching?
It's an issue of foresight and planning, whether or not different assassins play differently, they are not tanks / supports, and with just one support release in nearly a year and a half (so far), that's something that even a nine month long developmental process shouldn't result in.

Someone has to be able to take a step back before that year has passed and consider priorities.

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